Empathic Kindness Theme 3 – Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

Here we are now in Week 3 of the Empathic Kindness class, the inspiration for which came from an article by Roman Krznaric called “Six Habits of Highly Empathic People.”EK-003a

This week’s theme is to put you in the position of other people. The idea isn’t for this to just happen in your mind, but to really do something that someone else does. And ideally, this is something that takes you outside of your own comfort zone.

For instance, in the article, Krznaric tells the story of author George Orwell who wanted to experience what it was like to live on the streets. Doing so, Orwell learned that homeless people are not necessarily “drunken scoundrels” and, in fact, he developed friendships with some of the people he met. This experienced helped fuel much of his future writing.

It may not be practical for us to go out and live on the streets, but come up with at least one way you can experience what someone else in your city experiences. Krznaric suggests attending a religious service for a faith different than your own. If that idea doesn’t fit for you, perhaps it can inspire your action.


  1. This week I was in Physical Therapy for three days and was observing my therapist who is a wonderful person, so cheerful, kind, and always considerate of others. She started an organization called FAITH which stands for Families and Individuals Thanking Heroes. The idea is to support our troops overseas with cards, letters, handy items that they may not be able to find where they are stationed, extra things that might make their lives easier. She collects donations of money as well as gifts. Her organization began about six years ago when her son was in Afghanistan and each year there are more and more people who participate. They just recently recieved recognition in Houston. She is most proud that there is not one faith that participates, but many in our small town.

    So after observing her I decided it was time I picked a cause that is important to me and volunteer my time. We recently bought a house in SLC where we have become aware that pollution caused by an inversion layer (cold air gets trapped in the flat valley which is surrounding by high peaks) is a big health issue for older people. It is also getting worse every year as the state does not want to enforce stricter controls over their big industries. I do not want the city that we will likely retire to as our final home to be bad for our health or others, so when we go in December I intend to join whatever citizen’s group is trying to get pollution controls passed, plus I will continue my own efforts started last year to use public transport every time I can, even if it is a bit inconvenient. All it costs me is extra time and I am retired, so I have no excuse; I am excited about the possibilites to make a difference not only in my life but in the lives of others.

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